The xuixo generally goes unknown by expatriates in Catalonia. Given their inclination for the very non-Catalan plague of tapa restaurants, the fact that these pastries are not oft found in Barcelona (they’re originally from Girona), and most expatriates measure time in drinks consumed on terraces, it’s not much of a surprise.
It was probably in my second trip to Catalonia that I experienced them. Not terribly popular in my greater circle of in-laws, one day when in a pastry shop I asked what that round thing was that looked like a deep fried, sugary sock. The answer, was xuixo and it was explained as being “Creme filled and well, rather sweet, and well, try it if you want, you might like it”. Like it I did and it’s one of those horrible, sinful things I have on occasion when I feel as if I’m losing weight far too quickly.
As I live in Barcelona, they can be hard to find, which is why I was dancing like a child needing a toilet when I came across a bakery on Carrer Gignàs that, in addition to having a very pleasant rye bread and the rare coca, also had xuixos. Not only did they have them, but they were quite good and I helped myself to one whenever passing by after my Catalan class.
Last week, in addition to enjoying a springtime cold, something else unfortunate happened–the bakery changed xuixo providers. The color was a bit off when I bought it and the first bite even more so. Unlike the creamy, custardy, slight hit of vanilla that is supposed to be there, this was dry, overtly sweet in a sickly way, bready, and left a film on the roof of my mouth that screamed of using some form of shitty lard in the preparation like they do in what they claim as “croissants” here.
I bought another one today, just to verify that the curtain closed on my treat and yes indeed, these new xuixos put dog shit on the bottoms of my shoes. I shall not be buying them again and it appears that this will remain a treat of the Gironès Province yet again, most likely at Can Biel in Fornells de la Selva who make one of the most delicious ones I’ve had to date, along with the braç de gitano.